Karen Francis

Chairman & CEO, AcademixDirect

Board of Directors

Karen serves as Executive Chairman of AcademixDirect (www.academixdirect.com) based in Menlo Park, CA. She joined the private equity backed company in 2009 in the dual roles of CEO & Executive Chairman and grew the company to its position today as the leading technology innovator in education marketing winning numerous industry awards and posting record revenues and profit.  Prior to joining AcademixDirect, she served as Chairman & CEO of Publicis & Hal Riney, a marketing and advertising agency based in San Francisco and owned by Publicis in Paris, France.  Her successful career has also included senior executive positions at Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Internet Capital Group, Bain & Company, and as Vice President of Ford Motor Company, responsible for global e-business strategies, customer relationship management and worldwide export operations.  Karen brings a unique and valuable combination of marketing, technology, and general management experience to each role she holds.  In 2012, Karen was selected as one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Advertising” by Advertising Age and selected as one of the “Top 100 Chief Executive Officers” in the country by ExecRank.

Karen is a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of The Hanover Group (THG), a major property and casualty insurance company based in Worcester, MA.  She also serves as a Director for Dynamic Signal, a venture funded social media and employee advocacy company based in Silicon Valley and for Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit organization working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.  Karen has served as a Director on the Pella Corporation, Wingcast, and Covisint Boards, the American Advertising Federation, San Francisco Ad Council, Adcraft Club of Detroit, Goodwill Industries of Detroit, and Executive Women’s Golf Association Boards, as well as a member of the Board of Governors of The Commonwealth Club of Northern California and as a trustee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.

She holds an MBA from Harvard University and a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College, where she is a former member of the Board of Trustees, currently on the Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni and a member of the newly-formed Centennial Circle. Karen is actively involved with The American Heart Association, Music@Menlo Festival, Napa Valley Vine Trails Coalition,Dartmouth College Alumni and the Harvard Business School Club of Northern CA. She founded The HBS Women of Northern California Fellowship to provide financial assistance for women from the Bay Area attending HBS and was selected as one of the Top 100 HBS Women in the Bay Area in 2013. Karen resides in the Bay Area, is married with two stepsons, and owns a zinfandel vineyard in Healdsburg, CA.

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